I never promised you a beer garden

Or sea monkeys that live forever Oh, the hangovers find me well In this body that refuses to age Stand up artist, pickup paragraphs and Missed connections as I paint a picture and crumple it up The now blank canvas fades to gray In a colorful world Full of living the moments for Sweet smells of your whiskey

Social commerce junkie

I'm beginning to feel that I am OCD educated about things I purchase.  Mostly major purchases, but some, not so much.  I spend countless hours researching.  I find myself upset when my eventual choice ends in some crazy mishap such as inflated shipping costs or out of stock. 1. Remodel bathroom, need a new toilet:  Can you believe that I spent 4 months researching toilets online?  I read reviews, I compared features - I wanted to know how exactly the shit went down!  And I wanted to be environmentally conscious.  All these factors weighed in as I found, and unfound, the perfect crapper. 2. Books:  I find 50% of my new reads from friends, 25% from Amazon's "Recommended for You" and 25% from "that's an odd title, I'll give it a try" 3. Clothing: Just feels comfortable in an honest to goodness brick and mortar store when you try it on, with the exception of task specific items such as rain jackets and shoes.  Between the two, time spent researching is probably close to 15 hours 4. Beach paraphernalia: Good gracious, I love the beach, and between beach chairs, beach bags, beach blankets, suntan lotion, and first aid kits, I'd bet I logged 50 hours in research 5. Electronics -> Televisions: I spent 8 months reading reviews a few times a week before finally diving into the flat panel realm, and that was some years ago.  I've been at an upgrade purchase for 2 months now and still no definitive answer 6. Smelly good stuff:  Yeah, so I'm a dude, but I still like my house to smell nice.  Unfortunately, smell is a personal experience and cannot really be portrayed in online reviews and comments.  Even when it's "smells like crap," it is in the nose of the beholder 7. Cleaning things: Those crystal fabric softener things you put in the washer - success!  The gel toilet bowl cleaner thingy - failure!  The dish washer cleaner - failure! 8. Electronics -> Laptops: Hmmm, this is hard.  I do spend time reading reviews, but ultimately, it's about the components that make the deal - and sometimes, it's just the WOW factor 9. Food establishments: Best recommended by friends! 10. Wine: It's a matter of taste So in summary, the social aspects of commerce are sometime beneficial, but sometimes, it just doesn't work.  Overall, though, for things that need thoughts before purchasing, social attached it awesome, and I'm glad we are there in technology.  I can look to many e-commerce websites and drown myself in reviews, I can post potential purchases to social networks and usually get responses.  I love the digital age, I'm thrilled I don't have to make all the choices blindly and can rely on others experience to make my ultimate OCD decision.  

Wild at heart

Tonight introduces the speedy category, not just10things, but just1thing.  As with life, things grow and mature, and while just10things will remain, there is a need to slightly expand on the genre. I presume, sometime in the next year, that I will repeat this post with a need for just100things, or just25things.  I'm starting to wonder if the original quantity was just a quasi-achievable number at a point in life.  Can the momentum continue without adhering to said number?

"Yeah, we owned the night"

I had a win today, something I've been working on for, well, since June.  Something I'm ecstatically petrified of.  My `Golden Egg` my fluglebinder.  And my just1thing will change those involved, bringing a smarter workforce, a more efficient daily task, and a more normalized structure to a growing business.  But, there's always just10things.  I remain true. 1. "I finally asked you to dance on that last slow song" 2. boolean isAchievable = true; 3. if (!isAchievable) tryHarder();

"This world keeps spinning faster Into a new disaster so I run to you I run to you baby And when it all starts coming undone Baby you're the only one I run to I run to you"

4. "You've got to know when to hold 'em"

"Anything else is always something better."

5. New York is beautiful 6. Chicago is beautiful 7. Balance balance balance 8. I `sawr` a shark in the `requarium` this weekend 9. Life, what you make of it 10. Life... is more than just1thing

7 clicks to happiness

Facebook, today, decided to unleash a new user interface, and a lot of people are, well, they are pissed off!  An article I stumbled on just a few days ago commented that Facebook was getting ready to release a new front end and new services such as music and video in order to compete with Google+ after months of silence.  Well, that's great, I'm happy for them, but I'm not 100% sold on the Google+ interface yet, nor do I like the Twitter interface notifications that happen magically as my browser sits.  As a matter of fact, I don't care for anything in my browser window that refreshes or updates unless I tell it to.  Period.  Same goes for my phone.  So why change? 1. I like the new Lists feature, it was released a few days, maybe even a week, ago.  This answers Google+ Circles and the seems-to-be-dead Diaspora, but it's too cumbersome.  I now have lists on the left with numbers of unread posts in them, sometimes big numbers, and the only way to get rid of them is to click on the list, even if I have read the associated comment or post that this number is referring to. 2. Painful, it's like your kid that sits in the back seat of a car on a 12 hour trip and every 30 seconds says, "Are we there yet?" 3. The stock exchange ticker tape style thingy on the right top column, I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that my email won't replicate as fast as it used to on a slow hotel connection.  I don't like instant coffee, I don't NEED instant Facebook 4. And this little bugger, , is the most unreliable notification thingy I think I've ever experienced - but that's been going on for some time, and now, to think we got the ticker tape (see #3), do I really expect performance to be better? 5. Ah, performance, do you know how long it took me to "Check In" this evening from my phone with a decent signal?  27 minutes before FB Android App recognized I was in NYC @ Kellarney Rose.  It only took 20 seconds on Monday from the SAME seat.  My email replicated today before I could even get a list of "Nearby Places" on FB 6. SLOW, too many requests going on to update this and update that 7. Clutter.  Makes me feel like I'm in Vegas being bombarded with a million pamphlets for adult entertainment/escort services at every corner (and then some) 8. The fact that some stuff scrolls and some stuff doesn't is annoying 9. I get change, I do.  It is needed, but change for the right reasons, not just to be like the other guys.  Change for what your people need, not what you think they need. 10. Would 750 million and growing still be sticking with it if you sucked? I really think you need to add this to the site (can't promise browser compatibility with HTML marquee): Mowracer just shared a link: 7 clicks to happiness

Random ingredients and cranberry sauce

1. While going through security yesterday, an airport employee was in front of me going through the shoot-waves-through-me-to-make-sure-I'm-OK-to-enter-the-terminal machine.  All he had in his gray plastic bin was a light jacket.  Apparently this caused some confusion as there was something unidentifiable in his jacket pocket that showed up in the x-ray causing a curious agent to investigate further.  Turns out, it was a watch that he had misplaced a few weeks ago.  One happy worker! 2. "Will you give me a lot of paper money if I clean my room?"  Ah, the thought process of a four year old eager to get a new toy that I refuse to buy for him.  "I'll give you 2 dollars."  "Wow, Daddy, that's a lot!"  Off he ran to clean him room with a bundle of enthusiasm while I checked my wallet to ensure I could deliver.  Once he had completed his chore to my satisfaction, he weaseled 4 dollars out of me.  Never underestimate a child's determination. 3. I was sitting in the second row on a flight from Baltimore to Raleigh yesterday, in the first row on the opposite side was a lady, probably in her early twenties.  The flight attendant came through getting drink orders and she asked for tap water.  For some reason, this amused me, I mean, tap water on a plane?  The patient flight attendant offered a can of water, equivalent to bottled water, as the passenger threw a small fit complaining that she did NOT want sparkling water.  Uggh, just bring me my Bloody Mary, please. 4. "My bunny is doing his homework" 5. I've given up my e-Reader, I'm back to enjoying the feel of black ink on paper, the use of some random piece of paper as a bookmark, usually an airline ticket stub, and the ability to read while under 10K feet.  I was pretty heavy into e-Books for a bit, but it just isn't working for me any longer.  I feel more engulfed in a p-Book, each one different, luring me into twisted tales of what-nots and musings, and they have real covers.  The only downside is the weight of carrying 2 books versus one e-Reader as I have not perfected the timing and usually finish a book mid-week, thus always needing to carry a spare. 6. This post has nothing to do with cranberry sauce 7. Ran 6 kids around in the trailer behind 404, generally geared for 35 in 3rd, towing that many kids, might have hit 5 MPH with a LOT of petrol, probably shredded the belt in the process.  It was fun; the wind, gas and grease left perma-smiles on their face. 8. If I have to hear The Gummy Bear Song one more time this weekend, I think I will turn to the bottle, pretty close to the same feeling on Poker Face by Lady GaGa 9. Dance Central on the XBox rolling over here, funny how the boys are more into it than the girls, and a few of them can bust a move! 10. Labor Day weekend, unofficially now the end of summer.  I suppose colder weather will start drifting in here soon.  Let's get through hurricane season first, Katia and Lee, please be kind in your path

A day of goodbyes

Once again, it's time to move on.  You land, you meet people, you build relationships, you work your tail off, you network, you leave.  Today, I say goodbye to a little town in mid-Indiana that I had written off before I showed up, and then realized that it's a pretty awesome town. The architecture of Columbus, IN has been "ranked 6th in the nation for architectural innovation and design by the American Institute of Architects" with a population of only 39,000.  Not only does this town deliver on architecture, but is a great destination for the foodie inside.  My favorites: Papa’s Deli | 412 Washington Pieper’s Gourmet Catering | 423 Washington Power House Brewing (The Columbus Bar) | 322 4th St Columbus additionally offers a great downtown communal space, The Commons, that includes a spectacular living statue, Chaos, and an awesome playground that was really hard to resist. Indiana was a pretty friendly place, welcoming you as if it were your home.  This was apparent in the team I interacted with on a daily basis for almost 3 months, it was hard to say goodbye.  This was evident in the hotel staff, the car rental agents, even the flight attendants that I spent a few hours with a couple of times a week.  It was hard to say goodbye.  It was also discovered in a hostess at the airport restaurant once a week when I was promptly directed to a table.  What she didn't realize what that she was also the one responsible for wishing me safe travels home with a smile. I've done this enough times now, sometimes a week, sometimes a month, occasionally 6-9 months, and it's always the same.  You get over the place, but you hold onto the people.  So tonight as I weather out a hurricane on the east coast, I raise a glass to all I have encountered, east coast or not, and hope you have a safe night.  Cheers! Tunes consumed on the last day in town:
  1. Violet Hill by Coldplay
  2. Back to December by Taylor Swift
  3. The Cave by Mumford and Sons
  4. Let It Rain by David Nail
  5. Tough by Kelly Pickler
  6. Baggage Claim by Miranda Lambert
  7. Hello World by Lady Antebellum
  8. You and Tequila by Kenney Chesney
  9. Take a Back Road by Rodney Atkins
  10. One More Drinkin Song by Jerrod Niemann

Random combat boots & karaoke

The things I get myself into. "I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life" - Time to Pretend by MGMT Last week, I was chasing airplanes. It happens sometimes, and for one reason or another, your connecting flight just doesn't make it on time and you go find a bar. Which happened to be Crossroads Tavern. First, it was convincing the cab driver that I knew where he was taking me. I love technology, smartphones with GPS, specifically! #CantCheatOnCabFareForTheOutOfTowner Secondly, I had no clue what this place was like, but it was (My) Crossroads, so it couldn't be that bad. Third, I was carrying my suitcase and backpack. I found an unoccupied seat at the bar and waited. And waited. And waited. While I waited, I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting next to me who was continuously bumping me with his crutches. I hope he wasn't hitting on me. Fourth, I finally had the bartenders attention. I asked if I could park the carry-on behind the bar, which was answered with a "Hey, you were the one that called to ask when last call was?" Why, yes, that would be the stranded geek in Baltimore that verifies the destination is serving drinks. Fifth. Right in the middle of ten, which is exactly how I felt, right in the middle of "you don't belong here." Which is the moment where I didn't care, but wanted to understand. So I decided to observe and engage. Sixth, this place is dark and twisted, reminding me of high school, well, slightly after. Pool tables, lots of bar stools, a little bit of neon for effects. The people, tight knit clics, I observed a few distinct groups right away. Then the karaoke began to play. Seventh. The stage was full of wanna be American Idols singing Iron Maiden, Eminem and others that I've never heard. The mood, angry. Then the boots came in. Black, sequin, a little bit country. The mood swings, but not before the leader and her cohert speak every word of "Short [explicit] man." Then nothing but country music running words across the screen. Eighth, It's time to engage. I've never been the karaoke king, nor do I really want the title, but sing I did, what did I have to lose? There was something, some kind of strange feeling about being on stage where no one knows you, my few minutes of fame? Maybe. I have no clue what I sang, but does it really matter? Ninth, this is where the evening got a little interesting. Dressed in combat boots, mohawk, more piercings than should be legal and I struck up an old fashion conversation. What an interesting character. We will never agree on politics, religion or her, but this was an educated man with life stories that was comfortable enough to be himself, and I respected that. Tenth, as the night moved on, I engaged in friendly conversation with a few dozen people at a random bar in Baltimore. I learned a lot. Mostly, I learned that we are all individuals, with different tastes, wants and desires. But, I also learned that there is a little bit of country in us all! "Comfortably numb" Don't sugar coat it, keep it real! Note: This is the first post written entirely from an Android phone.

Tree choppers, a customers story on change

Slightly edited to protect the innocent... Greg (my customer) tells really good stories, stories I've head before, but stories with such passion, that they seem like new stories. So we were talking about why we need to allow people to blog via email. He tells me a story about a district manager for a retail chain who is visiting a store the day before a 3 day weekend. As he is wandering around the store, he notices that the store manager has assembled a display to help drive increased sales for the expected holiday traffic. It's perfect. So the district manager pulls out his flip phone and proceeds to write and email to his blog which includes a photo of the display. He sends this email, blog system does it's processing magic, and the entry is live on his blog. Story ends? Not yet. My first response was to pull out the trusty Blackberry and login to my blog and start to create a new blog entry to show that we don't need email to blog capabilities. Apparently the flip phone in this story doesn't have a browser. Hmm... So right about when I was thinking about suggesting deploying Blackberry phones to district managers, I stopped myself. What would it take to do this, and why has it not been done already, I mean this is 2010. It's about change. Some people embrace change. My next thought was a cost factor involved to compensate for the unwillingness to change for a very small percentage of management. My observation at this point was that in this organization, the top 5% of the population (middle management) contributes 90% of the information, and we are talking about changing people.
So then Greg begins to describe the organization. Their organization is made up of mostly tree choppers and axe sharpeners, and their organization has been chopping away in the same forest all along with the middle management preaching chop faster and sharpen better. Business is great, trees are getting chopped and axes are being sharpened, all is well. One day, a tree chopper decides to climb up the tallest tree he can find. He observes that the forest they are chopping in is almost gone, there is a cliff just through the trees in the direction they are chopping. He also observes that about 10 miles in the opposite direction is a fresh forest ready for chopping. He also sees a billboard for a chainsaw. So the tree chopper comes down and locates middle management, explains his story - they will be out of forest in a few days - they could chop much faster if they changed to chainsaws and chain sharpeners. Middle management responds firmly that tree chopping and axe sharpening is what they do, why change, it's been a great business. So in a few days, the competitor comes in with chainsaws in the new forest and the tree choppers fall off the cliff. The end.

Your digits, thoughts on subtle change

If you are thinking that I’m going to start talking about privacy, you are way off; I will actually digress to high school. I recall giving my phone number to a select few in school, even fewer in college. I remember getting my first cell phone, a Motorola StarTac and freely giving my phone number out. Those days were prefaced with handing out my pager number and I would return your call from a landline when I found one. The story was always the same, though - “847-xxxx.” I made a phone call the other day to schedule an eye doctor appointment; they asked me to verify my phone number and reminded me to bring in my insurance card. That same evening, I called the magic pizza car (pizza delivery) to order dinner. Later, again, the same evening, I sent my phone number in a message to a friend on FaceBook who wanted to talk. Next, I was thinking about when I was in the grocery store the other day, and I forgot my “Ima Frequent Shopper” card, so I entered my phone number on the key pad in place of the card. In the same manner, at an electronics store a week ago, I entered my phone number to retrieve my information for an extended warranty. I get my haircut and to check in at the front desk, I provide my phone number. The story has changed now, “919-710-xxxx.” So I have a phone number now, and I had one then, that’s great, so what’s the point? The point is the subtle change that happened without much controversy. In all of the examples that I have just described, I have been conversing and collaborating with individuals locally, we are all in the same area code. I was giving out my phone number then, just as I do now. The subtle change is the addition of three little digits. These days, when I reveal my phone number, it is always prefaced with an area code. I have never complained during this almost transparent change of wasting energy to speak three extra numbers. In fact, I really cannot recall when this change happened. I do remember many years ago, the news would highlight that 10-digit dialing would become necessary, but never do I recall seeing headlines like “Woman divorces husband over 10 digit phone number” or “Senator withholding the truth, only reveals 7 digits.” What really happened is that adoption of the telephone had exceeded the expectations of the infrastructure, we started running out of phone numbers; hence area codes started to become a little more important. Sure, you can still make calls locally dialing 7 digits, in some areas, but what happens if you are out of town and dial a contact from your cell phone? You are reminded by a sweet sounding operator (recording) reminding you that you need to dial an area code to reach this number. I have never yelled at her, I simply hang up and re-dial. What I noticed is that over time, I have started storing all contacts in my phone using a 10-digit format. The important thing here, though, is not the number of digits you will dial or the fact that there was an infrastructure “upgrade” needed, it is about how the consumers adapt to the change. In the end, it was the people that had to change; or not use the telephone.